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Thread: FL - The Sims family, murdered in Tallahassee, 1966

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    FL - The Sims family, murdered in Tallahassee, 1966

    I searched and didn't find a thread. Reminds me of the Walker case.

    From AP:

    ALLAHASSEE - For those who lived in Tallahassee then, 1966 is still remembered as the year that changed everything.

    That was the year once-open doors were locked, the pastor of one of the city's largest churches became a murder suspect and an entire lake was drained for evidence. Halloween was nearly canceled.

    Women filled water guns with ammonia to better fight off an attacker. Children were kept home at night. And police wandered the streets with German shepherds, looking for the killers who hog-tied and savagely murdered a family.

    Forty years ago on Oct. 22, while many residents were watching Florida State University and Mississippi State play football, someone attacked Robert Sims, his wife, Helen, and their daughter in their modest brick house on a cul-de-sac.

    All three were bound, their mouths stuffed with stockings. The two adults were blindfolded. Robert Sims, 42, a top official with the state Education Department, was shot in the head. Helen Sims, 34, was shot twice in the head and once in the leg. Joy, 12, was stabbed six times, then shot in the head. Her panties were found pulled down, and there was evidence that she was molested.

    Their bodies were discovered by Joy's older sister, who with another sibling had been babysitting for families who went to the football game. Robert Sims and Joy Sims died at the scene. Helen Sims lay in a coma for nine days before dying.

    "I've seen some terrible things in 45-plus years of law enforcement," said Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, who was a 24-year-old deputy on duty that night. "But I can see Joy's eyes as clear today as I sit here talking to you."

    More than 40 years later, the savage murders of the Sims family remain officially unsolved despite a massive investigation that has been reopened several times over the years. Campbell has two prime suspects, including one person he says has a fondness for necrophilia. But he says there's not enough evidence for a conviction.

    The impact of the crime in this town remains. While many people outside Tallahassee know about the brutal killings at an FSU sorority house by serial killer Ted Bundy in 1978, longtime residents point to the Sims murders as the moment when Tallahassee lost its innocence.

    "We just woke up one morning in Tallahassee and we were part of an evil world," said Rocky Bevis, who was 16 at the time and was one of the first at the crime scene because his father ran a funeral home and ambulance service. "It's disturbing to go to sleep knowing someone is still out there."

    The killings prompted a frenzy that seized the entire county - which had fewer than 100,000 residents at the time - and reverberated in the corridors of the Capitol, where Gov. Haydon Burns had state government kick in $5,000 in reward money for any evidence.

    As word spread the Sunday following the killings, there was a run on hardware stores as Tallahassee residents bought guns, knives and locks, and women signed up for judo classes.

    City officials set up a "prowler squad" of officers with dogs to patrol streets at night.

    "I was so scared, I didn't let the kids out to play," said Kalliopi Joanos, now 71, who still lives in the house that backs up to the Sims' home.

    Fueling the near hysteria was the admission by police that they had "no significant clues, no leads and no motives." There was no forced entry, no signs of robbery or even a struggle. While investigators poured over the crime scene and lifted nearly 1,000 fingerprints, there was nothing that led them to the killers. The murder weapons were never found.

    "It would lead you to believe it was pretty well thought out," said Bevis, who helped his father cut the ropes that bound the victims. "It wasn't something spur of the moment where someone said 'Let's go kill three people.' "

    Police combed through a thatch of woods behind the Sims house and eventually made the decision to drain a small lake that sat at the bottom of a hill a few hundred yards away. But a search of the muck bottom turned up nothing. A call to other law-enforcement agencies led one Kansas detective to tell Leon County authorities about the eerie similarities to the murder of the Clutter family - the topic of In Cold Blood, the Truman Capote book published a year earlier.

    The lack of success fed wild rumors and cast a cloud of suspicion over one man: C.A. Roberts, pastor of the First Baptist Church, one of the city's oldest and most prestigious churches. Helen Sims had worked as a church secretary and her family was deeply involved with the church.

    Investigators probed deeply into Roberts' comings and goings and into his interactions with parishioners.

    Roberts, however, had an alibi: As team chaplain, he was at the FSU football game - a fact verified by investigators who scanned the game film.

    Roberts was killed years later in a traffic accident. The probing into his life prompted him to step down as pastor within months of the murders.

    Henry Cabbage, a local writer who is working on a book on the murders, obtained a video showing Campbell and another detective interrogating a woman in 1987. The woman, who now lives in Jacksonville, had a boyfriend who lived near the Sims family. A summary of the interviews says that she remembers going to the Sims' house that night but can't remember any details.

    The woman's boyfriend, whom she later married and then divorced, told detectives in 1989 that he had nothing to do with the murders. The man, who now lives in St. Petersburg, theorized that "gangsters" killed the family.

    Campbell concedes that barring a confession the murder will remain unsolved.

    "I've done everything I think I can do," he said. "The big frustration is that I feel very confident that I know who did it."

    From Access My Library:

    Oct. 21--TALLAHASSEE -- For those who lived in Tallahassee then, 1966 is still remembered as the year that changed everything. That was the year once-open doors were locked, the pastor of one of the city's largest churches became a murder suspect and an entire lake was drained for evidence. Halloween was nearly canceled. Women filled water guns with ammonia to better fight off an attacker. Children were kept home at night. And police wandered the streets with German shepherds, looking for the killers who hogtied and savagely murdered a family.
    Forty years ago today, while many residents were watching Florida State University and Mississippi State play football, someone attacked Robert Sims, his wife Helen and their daughter in their modest brick house on a cul-de-sac. All three were bound, their mouths stuffed with stockings. The two adults were blindfolded. Robert Sims, 42, a top official with the state Department of Education, was shot in the head. Helen Sims, 34, was shot twice in the head and once in the leg. Joy, 12, was stabbed six times, then shot in the head. Her panties were found pulled down, and there was evidence that she was molested.
    Their bodies were discovered by Joy's older sister, who with another sibling had been baby-sitting for families who went to the football game. Robert Sims and Joy Sims died at the scene. Helen Sims lay in a coma for nine days before dying. "I've seen some terrible things in 45-plus years of law enforcement," said Leon County Sheriff Larry Campbell, who was a 24-year-old deputy on duty that night. "But I can see Joy's eyes as clear today as I sit here talking to you." Forty years later, the savage murders of the Sims family remain officially unsolved despite a massive investigation that has been reopened several times over the years. Campbell has two prime suspects, including one person he says has a fondness for necrophilia. But he says there's not enough evidence for a conviction. The impact of the crime in this town remains. While many people outside Tallahassee know about the brutal killings at an FSU sorority house by serial killer Ted Bundy in 1978, long-time residents point to the Sims murders as the moment when Tallahassee lost its innocence. "We just woke up one morning in Tallahassee and we were part of an evil world," said Rocky Bevis, who was 16 at the time and was one of the first at the crime scene because his father ran a funeral home and ambulance service. "It's disturbing to go to sleep knowing someone is still out there." The killings prompted a frenzy that seized the entire county -- which had less than 100,000 residents at the time -- and reverberated in the corridors of the Capitol, where Gov. Haydon Burns had state government kick in $5,000 in reward money for any evidence. As word spread the Sunday following the killings, there was a run on hardware stores as Tallahassee residents bought guns, knives and locks, and women signed up for judo classes. City officials set up a "prowler squad" of officers with dogs to patrol streets at night. "I was so scared, I didn't let the kids out to play," said Kalliopi Joanos, now 71, who still lives in the house that backs up to the Sims' home. "The night before, the little girl came to me to sell Christmas cards and the next day she was killed." The fear that spread through the town hung over Tallahassee for weeks, and prompted city and county officials to encourage parents to keep their children home on Halloween night. "This is no night to send young children in masks and costumes into the streets," chimed in an editorial in the pages of the Tallahassee Democrat. So kids went trick-or-treating before the sun went down.

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  3. #2
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    Found this link, which gives more info:
    http://lcso.leonfl.org/uc3.htm

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    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...lahassee&hl=en
    Interesting story of a clue that they had in 1966

    http://news.google.com/newspapers?id...lahassee&hl=en

    Another story about leads and a pic of Helen Sims
    Last edited by Sleuthster; 12-04-2009 at 06:22 PM.
    Cindi Lou


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    Sleuthster thank you for taking an interest in this case and finding that info! For some reason, this case reminds me of the Walker case, although the two case are entirely different. For one thing, I donít think rape was the motive here-I wonder if it was simply a home invasion or burglary gone wrong, but I am not sure. Were they murdered at night?

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  11. #6
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    Yes, this is an interesting case. I also have read on the Walker case. I live in the Tampa Bay area and there have been many stories over the years about them.

    To me both the Sims and Walker cases sound personal, like their attacker knew them or knew of them.
    Cindi Lou


    Some people may consider me crazy, I say I'm just inspired.

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    What stories have you heard? I just don't know what a motive would be for killing the Walkers

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    I'm not sure if the motive but from the walkers ws thread
    http://www.heraldtribune.com/apps/pb...2190338&Page=5

    The article says that the family probably knew the killer plus the marriage certificate was missing from the wall.

    Sometimes people have secrets that even their family does not know, secret lives, secret loves, personal issues with others, etc. I am not sure what their secret or who had it but unfortunately murders like this happen and there is only gossip and inuendo but rarely does anyone know the truth IMO.
    Cindi Lou


    Some people may consider me crazy, I say I'm just inspired.

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  17. #9
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    Oh yeah, I knew about the marriage certificate.
    Well, maybe the Sims did have secret lives-they were upstanding members of their community. People like that usually do have secrets.

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    Bumping.

  19. #11
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    Bumping this case again...

    It is awfully similar to the Bricca family massacre in Cincinnati, OH. just 3-and-a-half weeks earlier.

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  21. #12
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    Interesting case.
    wonder if Tallahassee cold case squad has ever looked at it?

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  23. #13
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    From the links they certainly have looked at the evidence again over the years.

    It puts a lot of people in mind of the Walker family murders in 1959, also in Florida.

    But it is so, so similar to the Bricca case just 3 and a half weeks earlier in Ohio.

    LE in both cases have said they think they know who the culprits are.. but no evidence.

    Hickock and Perry of In Cold Blood fame were looked at for the Walker case, and were known to be in Florida at around that time but there was no real evidence..

    From the links, LE actually read the Capote book because the Sims murders also reminded them of it.

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    I saw a comment, on a since forgotten website, by a retired Leon County Sheriff's Deputy who said he was on scene at the Sims house that night. I messaged him via Facebook & advised him about the WS discussion.

    He doesn't seem to be an active Facebooker; it may be an account set up mainly as a login point for commenting on news stories. Therefore, he may not even see my message. Or if he does open FB, if you are not "friends" I think messages go to an obscure folder which he wouldn't know to check. Soooo, I am itching to try phoning him. He must be one of three (name) 's in his town so it wouldn't be difficult. I would love to talk to him!

    My note to myself with his name is still floating around my desk & I see it everyday. What to do? I do not wish to bother him, but from his remark about the Sims case, chances are, he might want to join in the chat here. And I know the readers here would be anxious to know what he thinks happened.

    If you saw this thread updated & hoped to see real news, I apologize.... but hang on, maybe this will come to fruition.

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    I would call him.

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    Found this today. Very odd.

    http://tallahasseeo.com/2012/04/15/a...er-up-of-lcso/

    A Reader Writes To Tally O About Alleged Cover-up Of LCSO
    April 15, 2012Cop Reviews, Crimes, Freedom of the Press Group, Government Officials, Law Enforcement
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________________________
    We received these letters from one of our readers…we don’t know anything about this story as a media company but sharing with the public. Our media group cannot confirm the story submitted to us below by a third-party sharing it with our website. However, we would like to note that Deputy Samuel Bruce Retired Back In 1998 and 2008 Twice with the Leon County Sheriff’s Office. He later came back part-time in 2009 which appears to still be working with the Department according to FDLE Records of December 2011. Please click here on this link to see the records of The FDLE For Deputy Samuel Bruce as distributed by The Herald Tribune.
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ _________________________________
    What I have you may want to take a look at that may indicate the continuing cover-up of another murder case…a triple murder case…the Sims triple murder circa 1960′s.

    A relative of Sam Bruce, Patricia Sunday, and a former school board member was a childhood friend of a murder suspect in the Sims triple murder case. A few years ago just after Bruce had retired from LCSO, Sunday went to Bruce with info regarding conversations she had with the murder suspect years ago that was relevant to the case.

    A few years ago an author, Henry Cabbage, was doing a supposed book on the Sims triple murder and sued LCSO for a circa 1970′s interview video. The video was a four hour interview of the suspect Charlie LaJoie, Campbell, and Det. Greco. It is revealing, graphic, and eye opening. Ms. Lajoie tells what happens that night at the Sims house under the guise of a “dream.”

    In the video Ms. Lajoe mentioned her friend, Patricia Sunday, and that is how the author came to contact Patricia Sunday and gave Ms. Sunday a copy of the video investigation. Sunday was able to piece together things that Lajoie had told her through the years that would perhaps give probable cause for two arrests in the Sims murder case.

    Sunday went to her nephew, Bruce, thinking Bruce would take this to Campbell and arrests would be made.

    Instead, this may be about the time Bruce went back to work for LCSO and Sunday disappeared. I think she may have gotten a job with the state out of town.

    I believe Lajoie was even a bridesmaid in Sunday’s first wedding. So they were good friends and I believe Sunday’s info may have been enough to reopen the case.

    The case was never re-opened even though Sunday had info. Did Bruce receive a job from LCSO to keep him quiet? Did they find a job for Sunday out of town to keep her quiet?

    Have you seen the 1970′s circa video investigation of Campbell, Greco, and Lajoie?
    __________________________________________________ __________________________________________________ ___________________________
    I believe arrests should have been made long ago in the Sims murder. The second suspect was the boyfriend of Lajoie and the son of a famous criminology professor at FSU.

    The criminology professor was at FSU the same time Campbell was there. The professor lived in a home behind the Sims. The son was about to be arrested for allegedly molesting the youngest Sims girl. He was also dismissed from the military for schizophrenia and on thorazine.

    The patterns is the same years ago as today. If a murder is committed in Leon County and a well known family is involved as suspects the suspects get a pass from Willie Meggs and Larry Campbell. They take it upon themselves to cover it up. Sims, Harte, Mays…the same pattern continues that dangerous suspects are allowed to not even be investigated much less arrested and brought to trial.

    I am glad to see that a Tallahassee attorney is suing Larry Campbell for destroying records. It’s about time.
    P.S.

    Campbell was the first deputy on the scene of the Sims’ murder in the 1960s. Campbell had the chance to arrest the perps in the 1970s when the interview he had with one of the suspects revealed probable cause. Campbell again in 2009 had more evidence but still covers this up and it appears re-hires the retired LCSO employee who had some evidence.

    Is Campbell rehiring a retired LCSO employee to supress evidence in a crime he has long been covering up?

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